Brethren bits for May 4, 2018

Church of the Brethren Newsline
May 4, 2018

Photo by Cheryl Brumbaugh-Cayford.

The Elgin Heritage Commission Mayor’s Award for Preservation for 2018 was awarded to the Church of the Brethren General Offices on May 1, at a ceremony led by Mayor David Kaptain at the historic old Elgin High School gymnasium. Receiving the award on behalf of the Church of the Brethren were general secretary David Steele, Brethren Press publisher Wendy McFadden, Global Mission and Service executive director Jay Wittmeyer, treasurer Brian Bultman, Office of Ministry director Nancy Sollenberger Heishman, and Nancy Miner, office manager for the General Secretary’s Office, with retired staff member Howard Royer and News Services director Cheryl Brumbaugh-Cayford present to document the moment with this photograph.

— Bethany Theological Seminary seeks a director of student development with an immediate start date. The director of student development will have primary responsibility to design, implement, and review a student development plan and a retention plan as well as programs and initiatives that nurture current students into highly engaged alumni. Eligible applicants will hold the minimum of a bachelor’s degree, with a master’s degree preferred, and a master of divinity highly encouraged; a master’s degree in a non-theological field with applicable experience is acceptable. Qualified applicants will be personable and able to be self-directed, manage a complex workload with attention to details, offer support to colleagues, and have the ability to connect with current students as they become alumni. Multi-tasking skills are needed to manage the current student development needs. For a job description, go to
 . Application review has begun and will continue until an appointment is made. To apply, send a letter of interest, resume, and contact information for three references by email to recruitment@bethanyseminary.eduor by mail to: Attn: Lori Current, Bethany Theological Seminary, 615 National Road West, Richmond, IN 47374. Bethany Seminary’s policy prohibits discrimination in employment opportunities or practices with regard to race, gender, age, disability, marital status, sexual orientation, national or ethnic origin, or religion.

— The Outdoor Ministries Association of the Church of the Brethren (OMA) has openings for two contract positions: a communications coordinator and a social media and website specialist. OMA connects, enlivens, and supports the dynamic ministry of Church of the Brethren camps. OMA is a 501(c)(3) organization and is run by a volunteer board of directors. Each of these positions will work closely with the OMA board. These positions are available separately or may be bundled for the right candidate.

The communications coordinator will be responsible for checking the OMA general email address weekly, responding to general inquiries, and forwarding emails to appropriate parties for follow-up; maintaining contact information for camps, members, and other associated parties, and creating and maintaining a contact database; helping the board track and complete assigned tasks following each meeting; creating and mailing a semi-annual newsletter, including related tasks; facilitating an annual membership mailing and additional mailings.

The social media and website specialist will be responsible for collaboratively redesigning and maintaining the OMA website, incorporating feedback from the board; creating and posting weekly Facebook posts, or making arrangements for board members to create and post weekly; managing the OMA Facebook presence including monitoring of comment; connecting OMA to appropriate audiences through additional social media; connecting Church of the Brethren camps to OMA via Facebook and websites; posting each issue of the newsletter on the OMA website.

Qualifications: candidates who are a good fit for one or both positions will demonstrate respect for OMA and willingness to help fulfill the organization’s mission; excellent writing and communication skills; ability to proactively communicate and ask questions; ability to work well as part of a team and alone; good time management; high degree of organization and attention to detail; ability to be tech savvy and proficient with MS Office suite, Google suite, and Internet browsers; willingness to give, receive, and act on honest feedback; emotional maturity, poise, stability, warmth, kindness, and a sense of fun. Social media and website specialist will demonstrate passion and “pizzazz” for effective social media communications and strategy; professional experience with website design tools. Preference may be given to individuals who are members of the Church of the Brethren and/or who demonstrate a commitment to the work of Jesus. OMA seeks candidates throughout the US who are comfortable and adept at working remotely. Each position is available as a contract position for a 6-month trial period beginning mid-June or early July, or once a suitable candidate is found thereafter, for approximately 5-10 hours per month. Upon a positive 6-month review, there may be opportunity for a contract extension. Starting rate for each position is $150 per quarter (three months). Any travel required by the position and pre-approved by the board will be reimbursed. Apply by sending an email to by end of day May 18, with the following format: subject line: position for which you are applying, followed by first and last name, city, and state; within the body of the email include a brief personal statement, including: why you are interested in working with the Outdoor Ministries of the Church of the Brethren; how your skills, interests, and experience intersect with the responsibilities of and qualifications for this role; your work location; when you would be available to begin work; anything else you want OMA to know about you. Attach a current resume in PDF format. These positions are open until filled. Applications will be reviewed and interviews will be scheduled on a rolling basis after May 23. Email with any questions.

— Christian Peacemaker Teams (CPT) seeks a full-time administrative director to empower and guide the work of CPT in fulfilling its mission. The administrative director works closely with CPT’s program director in a collaborative, consensus-based, team model. Primary responsibilities include overall financial and administrative oversight, strategic planning and culture formation, and board and staff development, with some international travel to meetings and/or project sites each year. Candidates should demonstrate wisdom and imagination; skilled leadership of group and organizational processes and capacity building; commitment to grow in the journey of undoing oppressions; and ability to work independently and collaboratively as part of a dispersed team across continents. Nonprofit management experience and a focus on grassroots social change organizations is preferred. This is a 40 hours per week, 3-year appointment. Compensation is $24,000 per year. Benefits include 100 percent employer-paid health, dental, and vision coverage; 4 weeks of annual vacation. Location: Chicago, Ill., strongly preferred. Start date is Oct. 1. To apply, submit electronically, in English, the following to A cover letter stating motivation and reasons for interest in this position, a résumé or CV, a list of three references with e-mail and daytime telephone numbers. Application review begins May 15. Find the full position description at CPT is an international, faith-based, non-profit organization that builds partnerships to transform violence and oppression. CPT seeks individuals who are capable, responsible, and rooted in faith and spirituality to work for peace as members of teams trained in the disciplines of nonviolence. CPT is committed to building an organization that reflects the rich diversity of the human family in ability, age, class, ethnicity, gender identity, language, national origin, race and sexual orientation. All members of CPT receive a subsistence stipend currently capped at $2,000 per month for staff. For more about CPT see

Global Mission executive Jay Wittmeyer (seated third from left) at GUST graduation ceremony in India.

— Jay Wittmeyer, executive director of the Church of the Brethren Global Mission and Service, recently visited with the Church of North India (CNI), and spoke at the commencement ceremony for Gujarat United School of Theology (GUST), of which the Church of the Brethren is a founding member. He also spent time visiting with CNI families and communities. CNI began in 1970 as a merger of several denominations, including the First District Church of the Brethren in India, which has remained independent of CNI. The Church of the Brethren in the US relates to both CNI and the First District Church of the Brethren in India.

— Miami (Fla.) Haitian Church of the Brethren is planning a “March for Equality” for immigrants. The march is for “support for every human being who may be affected by TPS and DACA.” The march takes place on Friday, May 18, starting at 10 a.m. at the church at 520 NW 103rd Street in Miami. The end point is 8801 NW 7th Avenue. In an online post about the march, the church explained: “Haitian Church of the Brethren would like to ask you to show support for every being who may be affected by TPS and DACA. As you may know the president and his administration has promised to deport between 2 to 3 million undocumented immigrants and has already repealed the DACA (Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals) policy. This has and will affect more than 3 million families in the US and because of that we are organizing a march against these unfair policies. We as human beings and believers in Jesus Christ will stand for our brothers and sisters, our children and friends. We will march for the them, pray with them until something is done to fix this problem in our country. We are asking you to march with us Friday, May 18.” Find more at

— A photo of the performers of “It Might as Well Be Spring” at Fruitland (Idaho) Church of the Brethren appears in the Argus Observer at The church hosted a large gathering for the “Fruitland Over 80’s Celebration” on April 28. “The community event is co-sponsored by the Methodist Women and the women of the Brethren Church, for individuals age 80 and over,” the paper reported. “It included a skit/sing-along, followed by a light lunch.”

— The 12th Annual E. J. Smith River Float will be held on Saturday, May 19, starting at 9 a.m. at Germantown Brick Church of the Brethren in Virlina District. Participants will carpool and organize to float together from the Grassy Hill and Blue Bend section of the Blackwater River, exiting at the Corn property for a picnic. This is a fundraiser for Relay for Life. For more information, contact Ronnie Hale at 540-334-2077 or Steven McBride at 540-420-6141.

— Pinecrest Community is celebrating its 125th anniversary this summer. To spark the celebration, a “Wish List” has been created to detail specific program and equipment needs that donors can underwrite. With a third of its residents relying on charitable giving and Medicare to cover the cost of care, the retirement community in Mt. Morris, Ill., identifies more than 50 needed items that are outside the ongoing budget, most in the range of from $50 to $500.

— Virlina District holds its annual Ministry and Mission event this Saturday, May 5. Church members from around the district will worship, learn, and fellowship together, hosted at Collinsville Church of the Brethren. Registration begins at 8:30 a.m.  Worship will begin at 9 a.m. Lunch will be provided by the Women’s Fellowship of the Collinsville congregation. Cost is $8 per person. The event will include workshops and an Annual Conference briefing with moderator Samuel Sarpiya. Workshops offer continuing education credit for ministers, and are offered on the topics “Effectively Board” led by Scott Douglas of Brethren Benefit Trust; “Bridging the Divide: Skills in Conflict Transformation when Emotions are Involved” led by Samuel Sarpiya, in his role with the Center for Nonviolence and Conflict Transformation in Rockford, Ill.; “Escaping Purgatory: Choosing ‘WHY 2.0’ to Overcome Existential Threats to Church and Camp” led by Barry LeNoir of Camp Bethel.

— The Mid-Atlantic District Disaster Response Auction is receiving media attention from the “Carroll County Times” of Maryland. This is the 38th annual disaster auction sponsored by the district, to be held Saturday, May 5, at the Carroll County Agricultural Center starting at 9 a.m. “This regional event has raised more than $1.8 million since 1981 for disaster relief efforts,” the newspaper reported. The auction features handmade quilts, comforters, handmade crafts, art, flowers, houseplants, garden seedlings, trees, shrubs, glassware, furniture, tools, small appliances, collectibles, and more. The tool auction starts at 9 a.m., followed by general items and special items auctions. The quilt auction is scheduled for noon with about 80 items up for bid, “from smallish wall hangings to baby quilts to comforters to a dozen huge quilts larger than 80-by-100 inches,” said the news report. The report online features a photo of a quilt donated by John and Jeanne Laudermilch with appliqued daffodils done by Dorothy John Pilson and the quilting done by the women of Pipe Creek Church of the Brethren. Go to .

— The latest Dunker Punks Podcast features Kiana Simonson, a youth and young adult assistant for On Earth Peace, bringing together three other interns to discuss their roles at the agency. “Listen as the four share their thoughts on finding common ground across a variety of issues including gender, racial, and LGBT justice,” said an announcement. The Dunker Punks Podcast is an audio show created by more than a dozen Church of the Brethren young adults across the country. Listen at or subscribe at

A roof is put on the Makobola church in the Democratic Republic of Congo. Photo courtesy of Lubungo Ron.

— Bridgewater (Va.) College has broken ground for a “multi-million dollar transformation of Bridgewater College’s Alexander Mack Memorial Library into a state-of-the-art learning commons,” said a release from the college. The groundbreaking was celebrated May 4. “The John Kenny Forrer Learning Commons will serve as an active learning space and focal point for engaged learning for Bridgewater’s academic community,” the release said. “The facility will house the library’s collections and serve as a learning hub with a multimedia production lab, individual student study areas, peer coaching and tutoring, research support, an abundance of plug-and-play electronic outlets, group meeting spaces, on-site IT support, the Writing Center and Career Services. Thanks to record fundraising, the Forrer Learning Commons will be the first project in Bridgewater’s history to be fully funded through charitable donations. The new facility was made possible through a number of donors, including Bridgewater College alumna Bonnie Rhodes and her husband, John, who made a lead gift in honor of Mrs. Rhodes’ father, John Kenny Forrer. Other significant donors include John and Carrie Morgridge, who made a gift to name the Morgridge Center for Collaborative Learning. The facility will also include the Smith Family Learning Commons Café, the Robert H. and Mary Susan King Portico and the Beverly Perdue Art Gallery. Additionally, a gift to the Forrer Learning Commons project will be matched by The Mary Morton Parsons Foundation, which has issued a two-to-one $250,000 challenge grant.” The college plans to open the building in 2019.

— Bridgewater (Va.) College has honored three alumni for their achievements and humanitarian service, including Church of the Brethren member Steve Hollinger of Haymarket, Va., class of 1970, who received the West-Whitelow Humanitarian Award. Also receiving awards were Bruce W. Bowen of Richmond, Va., class of 1972, who received the Distinguished Alumnus Award; and James J. Mahoney III of Morgantown, W.Va. class of 2003, who received the Young Alumnus Award. Hollinger has been widely active in the Church of the Brethren and his community, serving in a variety of capacities and giving freely of the skills he gained through more than 40 years’ experience in construction, management, and training. He retired in 2016 from his private consulting practice. As a youth, growing up in Stuarts Draft, Va., he was a member and president of the Shenandoah District Youth Cabinet. After receiving his degree in biology from Bridgewater, Hollinger taught biology and earth sciences in the Prince William County Schools and earned an M.A. from Virginia Tech in 1976. His subsequent career in construction included design, supervision, risk management, and safety consultation, as well as hands-on construction work for a number of firms, including his own Construction Options Inc., in Haymarket, Va. Since 1976 he has been a member of Manassas (Va.) Church of the Brethren, where he has led various community outreach construction and service projects and spearheaded a $2.5 million renovation and addition project for his church, donating more than 3,600 hours of his time and expertise. He has been involved with Church of the Brethren national projects since 1976, including Brethren Disaster Ministries and the National Deacon Cabinet. He is a charter member and past president and treasurer of the Brethren Housing Corp. and volunteered in Brethren Volunteer Service in 2005. He supports the Shepherd’s Spring Outdoor Ministries Center in Sharpsburg, Md., having served on the Program Development Team at its inception. At Bridgewater, Hollinger served on the Parents Advisory Committee from 1997-2000, the final year as chair, and was a trustee from 2007-2016, serving at one point as chair of the Buildings and Grounds Committee.

— The National Council of the Churches (NCC) has issued a statement on the progress toward peace on the Korean Peninsula. The NCC “joins with the National Council of Churches of Korea and the World Council of Churches in giving thanks for the wonderful reports emanating from the meeting between the leaders of the two Koreas indicating the armistice that ended the war in 1953 may finally be replaced by a peace treaty,” the statement says. “For decades, we have prayed and worked for peace alongside all of our sisters and brothers from Korea. We continue to be in prayer for the possibility of a successful meeting in the coming weeks between the leaders of the United States and North Korea. May God continue to guide our leaders along the path to peace.”

A leadership training class for Brethren Disaster Ministries celebrates the completion of a house with a House Blessing. The home in Nichols, S.C., is for Miss Joyce and Miss Ann, according to a Facebook post from the Church of the Brethren disaster rebuilding project.

— Churches for Middle East Peace (CMEP) executive director Mae Elise Cannon attended the Palestine National Council convention this week, including a speech by Palestinian Authority president Mahmoud Abbas. “CMEP welcomes the commitment of the PLO to peace negotiations, but condemns the inflammatory and anti-Semitic rhetoric used during the speech,” said a communication from the organization, of which the Church of the Brethren is a participating denomination. President Abbas “presented his future policy to the first regular session of the Palestine National Council (PNC) since 1996, calling for new negotiations leading to a two-state solution,” CMEP’s release said. “His recommitment to the peace process comes after remarks made earlier in January in which he threatened to withdraw from the Oslo Accords and suspend PLO recognition of Israel. However, the conciliatory tone brought to the conversation regarding the twostate solution was severely undermined by antiSemitic rhetoric peppered throughout the speech. Churches for Middle East Peace welcomes President Abbas’s renewed commitment to the establishment of a Palestinian state existing alongside Israel and his calls for nonviolent popular resistance to Israel’s occupation. CMEP condemns the antiSemitic and inflammatory remarks and affirms that support for a Palestinian state does not require downplaying historical Jewish suffering or denying their connection to the land.”

— A series of hearings is continuing at sites around the country, held by the National Commission on Military, National, and Public Service. These hearings are on the future of the military draft, draft registration, and compulsory service including compulsory military or national service for women, health care workers, and people with language, IT, or STEM skills. Upcoming hearings are announced for Boston, Mass., on Wednesday, May 9, at 5:45 – 7:45 p.m. at Sargent Hall, Suffolk University Law School, 120 Tremont St.; in Nashua, N.H., on Thursday, May 10 at 5:30-7:30 p.m. at Nashua City Hall (3rd Floor Auditorium), 229 Main St.; and in Jacksonville, Fla., on May 17 at 6:00 – 7:30 p.m. at University of North Florida Herbert Center, Room 1027, 12000 Alumni Dr. Peace church members are encouraged to attend and express support for alternative, non-military service in place of a military draft. Written comments are being received by the commission by email to with “Docket No. 05-2018-01A” in the subject line of the e-mail message, or use this online form: The deadline to submit written comments has been extended through Sept. 30.

— Centenarian Galen L. Miller has been celebrated by his congregation at Sunnyslope Brethren/United Church of Christ in Wenatchee, Wash. He reached the 100 year mark on Jan. 7. He was born in Weiser, Idaho, on Jan. 7, 1918.

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